Yesterday the Mother of Cats finally finished the bind off of the shawl (an I-cord bind off that made her grumpy because it took so long) and we took it outside to get some pictures. By the time we got out there it was getting ready to rain, so we had to work fast. I don’t like rain. If you had fur like mine you wouldn’t like rain either!
The Mother of Cats likes to take pictures of shawl hanging on the fence, but we were running the sprinkler while this picture was being taken, so that will have to wait for another day. Still, can you see how nicely these colors show off my fur? Obviously, this shawl needs to become my new blankie! The Mother of Cats would give it to me if she loved me, right?
I’m such a good boy. She never could have made this shawl without me!
Can I have some cookies now?
Notes from the Mother of Cats:
This shawl is the What the Fade?! shawl by Andrea Mowry. I was having some trouble getting Ravelry to update my project page this afternoon, but if you want to peak at the yarn that I got into the data base my project notes are here.
I cut MacKenzie’s claws right before this photoshoot… no shawls were harmed by cats in the production of this blog post!
The upper portion of the shawl is brioche (slow, but so squishy and rewarding) and the lower portion is garter, garter, garter. All of the border, CO and BO are I-cord, and that stabilizes the shape of the shawl and keeps the squishness under control.
MacKenzie will not be getting this shawl for his bed!!
Yesterday while the Mother of Cats was driving around in the car (she went to the yarn store… she tried to sneak in some yarn, but I saw her and I’m absolutely certain that she has SLIPPED again…) she glanced at the dash and noticed that it was 101° F outside. I believe it. It is so hot I can’t go outside without burning my paws, and I barely have enough energy to put a claw into the Mother of Cats knitting. Barely. It is so much effort, but when you are a cat of superior personality and strength of will, you persevere and grab yarn anyway. It shows character in the face of adversity…
The Mother of Cats CUT MY CLAWS again!!!
I don’t know why she hates me so much. I’m just trying to do my part in this endless fade project that just keeps going and going and going… Seriously, I don’t know when this project is going to get done. It just keeps getting bigger and hotter and the Mother of Cats whaps me with it every time she turns it. It would be different if she would let me sleep on it, but nope. The Mother of Cats never lets me have fun!!
The Mother of Cats and I do go out into the garden in the evenings so she can water and I can look for bugs and squirrels. It is so hot outside that even the bugs are hiding.
Since we are hanging out in the house during the afternoons I think that the Mother of Cats and I may get the shawl done in the next week or so. I can’t wait to show it off. The Mother of Cats could never get things like this done without my help.
This shawl uses 6 skeins of yarn, which explains why I am still knitting and knitting on it. This morning I started the 4th color used at the bottom of the shawl, so the end is now in sight. Yay! This weekend the heat should break, the afternoon storms will return, and my Fade will be finally finished. Stay tuned for the final update!
It has been cloudy, snowy, and cold here. I mean, really cold! Freeze your (Raynaud’s) fingers before you know it cold. Knowing this was on the way I bought food and gas a couple of days ago and then settled into the house with cat-magnet blankets with space heater to do some power knitting. This morning Greeley, Colorado, a city an hour’s drive north of me set some sort of record at -32 degrees Fahrenheit (with wind chill it was -47!!). It wasn’t that cold here, but it was still cold.
I finished another of the leftover WIPs from last year this week. This one is a Moebius cowl using garter and blackberry stitch in a pattern that I sort of winged as I knit. I like it! Here’s what is crazy about Moebius knitting: the cowl is knitted from the middle out, and the pattern is “up” on one side of the cowl, and “down” on the other.
The cowl is just the right length to wrap twice around my neck to stay warm, and it also will drape nicely when just worn as it is.
I like the blackberries the most, so I will wear the cowl the way I took this picture, but it is just as easy to wear it with the other stitch pattern (which looks vaguely woven) facing out.
So, this is my own pattern. I really like how it came out, and I have some cool Madelinetosh yarn that is dying be a cowl too, so I’m fighting an urge to immediately cast on to make another one. I wonder how that yarn will look in blackberries? This yarn was worsted weight and the new one is DK. Will it make any difference? It’s like an experiment!! I used a little more than one skein on this cowl; maybe I can come up with some cool fingerless mitts with the rest of the yarn. Lots of knitting ahead of me.
It warms up this weekend, but looks like I’ll still be on the power knitting drive!
I know that I kind of did this to myself. I was really pushing things as I got everything baked, stitched, knitted, wrapped, mailed and cleaned for Christmas. It was wonderful. My family was all here on the big day, the dinner was perfect, and it was even snowing lightly making it a true White Christmas. A wonderful, wonderful day.
I was just exhausted afterwards.
Still, I made some after-Christmas plans. I wrote out some ideas for the end-of-the-year blog post and made a list of projects to tackle in the coming weeks and months. Great stuff: weaving, spinning and quilting made the list along with the usual plethora of knitting items.
The Monday after Christmas I woke up sick. Influenza!! I had had the vaccine, but I knew that it was unlikely that I would get the full benefit because of my immuno-suppressant drugs. By New Year’s Day I literally couldn’t get out of bed. The next day I dragged into the after-hours clinic and was sent home with antibiotics and some serious cough medicine. Thus a cascade of severe unhappiness was launched. Here’s the short version: bronchitis; removal from immuno-suppressant drugs; allergic reaction to the first antibiotics; more antibiotics; a full rebellion by my digestive system; low blood pressure; dizzy, dizzy, and more dizzy; help: I can’t even manage to knit; a flare of my systemic sclerosis; and a complete helping of why can’t I breathe right yet??? There. That was the whole month!! In fact, it is still going, but I am definitely on the mend.
Take home lesson: it is possible to survive on yogurt, cranberry juice and Christmas cookies. Maybe I should write this up as a new fad diet. 🙂 It is also good to have a pile of books waiting to be read. An emergency stash of chocolate is a given, right? Oh yeah, one more thing: GET YOUR FLU SHOT, PEOPLE!!
Two weeks ago I pulled out my partially completed Daelyn Sweater (by Isabell Kraemer) and got started knitting on it again between naps. Last week I finally finished it. Oh, my goodness. What a wonderful sweater. It kind of looks like a sweatshirt…
I have to give a shout out to this yarn. You almost have to work with this stuff to believe it; it is soft, squishy and very light weight. My finished sweater is soft, warm, comfy, looks and hangs like a bulky sweater but weighs very little. It is almost a shock when I lift it to put it on. There are little bits of veggie matter in the yarn, but I think that is because it hasn’t been over processed. It was fairly easy to pull them out while I worked.
When I got ready to knit my sleeves I began to panic about running out of yarn. I ordered two more skeins online that were from another dye lot. I blended the new yarn in by knitting every other row for 8 rows (it did happen on the sleeves..) and you absolutely can’t see the change in yarn. I could have just skipped the blending. How’s that for quality control! Here are the Ravelry notes for my project if you want more info.
So, here it is whole month late but I am starting to think about my new projects for the year. Lots to do. You weren’t very nice to me at the start, 2016, but let’s see what we can get going now. Behave yourself!!
Over the weekend my wrists got better and I did a little knitting (3 – 5 rows) to exercise my hands. Yesterday the braces came off and my wrists were A-OK again, Yea!! I don’t quite know what happened, but what the heck. I got to work and finished up the Drachenfels shawl.
This shawl has been going on for awhile. Instead of posting all the pictures again I thought that I would give the links here in case anyone wants to look back at my Drachenfels’ baby pictures.
The shawl needs some blocking but since it is so big I’m not going to wet block it. Besides, I am just dying to wear it and who wants to wait that long? I’m just going to hit it with some steam, smooth it out a little, and put this yummy baby to work.
It has been a really good week knitting-wise. The weather is cooling down at last, I’m caught up on most of my major projects, and the new season is starting up on television. I find myself knitting outside in the garden, at the doctor’s office and even during the football games (Go Broncos!!) The leaves are turning at last and I am churning out my Drachenfels shawl.
At this point I removed him from the picture shoot.
You can’t see it in the pictures, but this yarn is knitting up really soft and should have a great drape when done. I am using a smaller yarn than the pattern was designed for (fingering instead of sport) and moved down to size 4 needles (3.5mm) instead of size 6 (4 mm), but this shawl is coming out plenty big!
The forecast is for cooler weather and rain showers this weekend, and there is a Broncos game Sunday. I plan to really crank out some knitting over the next couple of days. The shawl should be big enough both for me and the cat soon. 🙂
Last night I knitted like crazy and got my Reyna shawl (by Noora Laivola) finished. I wet blocked it overnight (hoping that sleeping kitties won’t notice it…) and this morning I took it outside to the garden swing to finish it up while I was watering the lawn. Of course my cat MacKenzie couldn’t resist helping out.
This shawl was a fast and easy project, but I learned a lot of new things while working on it and it led to some new insights. After all, while I love to knit, I really am more driven to play with new yarns, patterns and ideas more than I need a new shawl (or pair of socks for that matter). Every new project is an opportunity to learn something new!
I first selected this pattern because I had a skein of wickedly soft and colorful yarn in my stash. I knew that the colors would go with everything in my wardrobe, but there were so many of them in the skein that I needed a way to show them off without nasty pooling or something that looked muddy.
There are YO stitches to each side of the center stitch in the garter section. Hard to see aren’t they? That’s because they are hidden by knitting in the back loop of the YO on the wrong side row. Who knew? By hiding the YO stitches the garter stripe stands out better between the mesh segments.
I also noticed a difference in the mesh. Normally K2tog stitches slant to the right. In the mesh section of the shawl the K2tog creates a slant that goes to the left. Check it out!
As I was knitting along I realized that my ball of yarn was starting the shrink a little faster than I wanted it to. Yikes! How can I be sure to use as much as possible while leaving enough for the last three garter rows and then the BO? Well, this is when a yarn warrior really digs in and takes control.
See, it isn’t about the final object (OK, it is a little). It’s about being a YARN WARRIOR!! Capture the learning and master the craft. Be at one with the cashmere and bond with your fellow knitters.
I’ve been knitting like crazy on my July socks since the end of the month is almost upon us. Last night I finished up the first sock. Cute. Way cute!
The colorway of this yarn is called “Fire Dragon”, but they sure do look berry colored, don’t they. I had berries on my mind when I went to the grocery store and ended up with some yummy blackberries and raspberries in my basket. Time to make my favorite berry cobbler!!
My mom always grew berries. When I was a child there was a row of Boysenberries in the yard. All summer long mom sent us out with buckets to pick the berries which she turned into pies, cobblers and cases of jam that became Christmas presents for all her friends and co-workers later on. We loved those berries; we ate a lot of them while we were picking and they have become one of the flavors of summer for me. Here is the recipe that mom adapted for her berries.
¼ cup soft butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt (optional – I never include it!)
½ cup milk
2 cups freshly washed berries
¼ cup sugar
Heat oven to 375 oF (350 oF in altitude above 5,000 feet)
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the flour, baking powder (and salt) to the bowl on top of the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the milk.
Mix everything together well. There will be some tiny lumps but don’t worry about them.
Spread the mixture in the bottom of a greased loaf pan.
Rinse and clean the berries. (If the berries are large like strawberries cut them into smaller pieces.) While still wet put them into the pan on top of the batter.
Sprinkle the sugar on top of the berries in the pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes. (batter should brown across the cobbler)
Time to get another serving of cobbler (for a late breakfast!) to munch on while casting on the second sock. Gosh, I just love July. 🙂
I am definitely in a shawl knitting phase. I just finished Edith’s Secret, and now I am cranking out two more shawls using bright yarns. This is fun! Here is what I’m working on:
That’s it. There has been a lot of midnight knitting going on with these babies. 🙂 I need to get them out of the way so that I can get going on the next sock of the month (since it is April 1st and all…) I’m really having trouble deciding on one sock as I found a lot of cool yarn when I went stash diving earlier this week. Then there were the patterns in one of my sock books. How to pick just one?
I bought a really fun skein of hand-dyed yarn a few weeks ago. It is another yarn from Zen Yarn Gardens Serenity 20 in the colorway Burning Bush. I cast on to make a pair of vine lace mitts a couple of days later, and here is how they turned out:
Cute, huh. These mitts fit really well, and they go great with my black, grey and fushia tops. The colors in the mitt, however, didn’t really stand out the way I thought they would. The grey is almost gone. I decided to make a second pair of mitts in simple stockinette to see how that would change the way the yarn looked. Here they are:
Wow. What a difference the pattern made. Both mitts are comfy, but the second pair will go a lot better over my black gloves and with my new grey sweater. I do think that the stockinette pair shows off the “burning bush” characteristics of the yarn. But the lace mitts are really cute. I made both pairs with the same number of stitches and shaped the thumbs the same way. Which do you guys like better?
I haven’t written up the pattern for the garter vine lace mitts, but I did write down the details in my pattern notes on Ravelry. Here’s the link if anyone is interested.